Wednesday 07 October 2015

Bible Book:

“And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.” (v. 5)

Genesis 45:1-5 Wednesday 7 October 2015

Psalm: Psalm 104:24-35


Throughout the three previous chapters Joseph has recognised hisbrothers but his identity as the one they had long ago treatedshamefully had been hidden from them. But he could keep it secretno longer. Twice previously Joseph had been moved to tears, oncewhen they were confessing to each other the evil they had done toJoseph, not realising that he understood what they were saying (Genesis 42:24), and again when he first metBenjamin (Genesis 43:30). This time he knows he is aboutto break down uncontrollably and sends all but his brothers out ofthe room, even though everyone, including the householdof Pharaohthe king, subsequently hear his crying through the walls.

Many years had passed since the brothers sold Joseph to slavetraders, and his circumstances had changed beyond imagination fromrags to riches, from slavery to prime minister. Joseph hadeffectively set up this opportunity for reconciliation through thetricks he had played on them and which have led at the end of theprevious chapter to Judah offering to pay the penalty for a crimethat Benjamin has been accused of. It was in response to that thatJoseph could hide no longer. Having identified himself in thesimplest possible way his immediate question before they can speakconcerned the well-being of the one he had been consistentlyreferring to as "your father" (eg Genesis 43:27) but could now ask,"Is my father still alive?" (v. 3). He already knew the answer (Genesis 43:27-28) but understandably wanted tohear it again.

His brothers were immobilised by shock and do not answer, soJoseph, encouraging them to approach him, proved his identity withthe detail that only they and he know, "whom you sold into Egypt"(v. 4). He then proceeded to calm them in their fear as to what thetruth might mean, and you might want to readon to verse 15 where their reconciliation to each otherbecomes complete.

To Ponder

  • Have you ever cried uncontrollably? What was it that moved youthat deeply?
  • What other first words might the brothers have expected tofollow "I am Joseph"?
  • Joseph has clearly forgiven his brothers not least because hecan see how God has used their wrongdoing to everyone's benefit(verse 5). What experience do you have of how God is able to bringgood out of evil that we humans do or say
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